From the National Geographic Islander in Galápagos
May 8, 2012 - National Geographic Islander
Isabela & Fernandina Island
The National Geographic Islander navigated towards the western side of the archipelago, to the largest of the enchanted islands known as Isabela (the seahorse shaped island). We started with a Zodiac ride early in the morning along the titanic red and brown cliffs. Many species were seen feeding and basking under the sun; the fact is that Punta Vicente Roca is a place where animals from opposite hemisphere can be found on a single rock after millions of year of evolution. The ocean water was so clear that even fish could be seen from the Zodiac. Many Pacific green sea turtles were seen basking on the surface; they were all sizes and colors. Along the walls made of compacted ash many blue-footed boobies were resting, some other brown noddy terns were soaring the coastline looking for small fish near the tidal line. Barnacles and invertebrates were filtering as the waves were hitting the walls, while the young Galápagos fur sea lions performed a show for us explorers watching from the Zodiac.
Penguins and sea lions were seen on the rocks. The small size of these Galápagos penguins shows an incredible adaptation to release heat faster by having a smaller body mass, a very interesting biological process known as insular dwarfism. Coevolution is the key between the specie and the environment and the only way to survive in a new habitat.
We later decided to go snorkeling and explore the underwater world, many marine features were found. The productivity levels in the waters around Punta Vicente Roca are very high, therefore the amount of complex marine ecosystems we explore were very different from each other. About 30 marine turtles were seen swimming with us, cormorants feeding and many species of fish shoaling and schooling around the rocky reefs.
In the afternoon we disembarked on Fernandina Island, taking a voyage thousands of years back in time, enjoying a place showing us how the Galápagos were before humans arrived. The most preserved island of the Galápagos, species everywhere you look around, such a pristine place. The opportunity to touch a place that had been so untouched is such a privilege.
After a day of vising two paradisiacal worlds and traveling in time among them, we returned to the National Geographic Islander to continue on our journey of exploration in the enchanted archipelago.